3 min read

“How will your team be prepared when ‘the big one’ hits?”

That’s a question we get a lot about our emergency line.

First, some context:

Being a responsible partner in safety, means having a process in place for each school, business or event to gain emergency support when they need it. To that end, Joffe has an established 24 hour emergency line devoted to helping schools, businesses and events who are actively experiencing emergencies work through them. We often discuss the importance of dialing 911 first - as we’re really there to help put out the metaphorical fires, while the fire department puts out the literal ones. That said, once you call us, our job is to work with you to resolve the emergency from occurrence all the way to the end. Our team works with you during a threat to engage the right authorities, during a loss of life situation to help work through supporting the various constituents who need active and holistic support during the trauma their experiencing and various other situations like that.

When calling the line, you’ll receive initial instructions and support from a Joffe responder. From there, our dedicated team of responders will be notified and begin to engage with you directly as appropriate. You’ll often hear from your own Response Manager as well as a team of others who are there to support you - ranging from our HR experts to our risk management experts to our communications experts. We also have established protocols in place depending on the types of emergency you're facing. For example, if there’s a life lost during the school (or work) day and on campus, our Founder and CEO, Chris Joffe, will be supporting the crisis. Conversely, if you’re dealing with a lice outbreak, you’ll hear from someone on our team who’s handled that before.  We also work with partners, like the Jane Group, if the scope of the event requires additional resources.  

We welcome you to call on this line no matter what the circumstances are and offer a few caveats to help you make the best use of Joffe’s team.

  1. You MUST call 911 in a life-threatening emergency. Joffe’s team CAN NOT call 911 on your behalf and can’t dispatch critical life-saving resources like ambulances, firefighters and police. Instead, you MUST call 911 first. Then, you can call Joffe.

  2. Joffe’s team is here to support you regardless of the emergency you’re facing! You get to determine what you feel is an emergency. Remember a few years ago when the ‘measles outbreak’ was a thing? Joffe’s team handled 80+ conference calls in 8 days helping schools react to and respond to those emergencies.

Naturally, the support is in place for a handful of schools, businesses and events needing help, but inevitably clients, especially in California, ask about how we support all of our schools simultaneously (think earthquake). The answer is very comparable to your emergency plan, believe it or not. We triage, we create redundancy, and we practice.

  • Triage:

    The purpose of triage in this case is to help the most people do the most good work. What that means is that we conduct an initial screening and triage and we will identify those schools who are in the most need and ensure they have dedicated, focused and expert care. Depending on the situation and resources available, at times, we’ll dispatch teams from the area to support the organization(s) in need. Other times, we’ll support them in live time over the phone or a video conference. Either way, we’re providing our resources to those most in need - so if the earthquake happens in San Diego and you’re anxious about it in Portland, we’ll get to you, but candidly, you’ll be down towards the bottom of the list. That said, those schools in San Diego who have active life threats and need active support are going to take priority through the emergency.

  • Redundancy:

    For us, redundancy is key - it’s part of our own Business Continuity Plan. We have Responders in satellite hubs around the country. Currently, those include San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Sacramento, Atlanta. Over the next year, we’ll be doubling those locations as we grow! Based on our studies of the varying risks and threats, we’ve established a protocol such that LA and San Francisco can mirror one another - if there’s an earthquake in SoCal, SF takes the lead and visa versa. We also have our Responders in non-earthquake territory in primary roles such that they receive the calls and do a lot of the initial intake so that we can get operational in the impacted area and prepare to offer boots on the ground support where necessary.

  • Practice:

    Just like we encourage you to practice fire, earthquake, lockdown, tornado, hurricane, zombie apocalypse, and other drills monthly, we practice! We know that no emergency will every go “perfectly”, but we also know that practice prepares. Through routine drills, often with clients involved, we work through various emergency scenarios including earthquakes, student death, active threats and the like. Using our experience with clients during emergencies, we’re constantly looking at ways to improve our system making it more efficient, more effective and more impactful.

Ultimately, when ‘the big one’ hits, we’ll all reel for a moment, but our triage, redundancy and practice set us up to be an effective partner to you - and we’re proud to anticipate full support for our schools, businesses and events even in spite of a situation like that.


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